If you believe it or not, Adley Rutschman did indeed struggle before. This is nothing new for the Baltimore Orioles top-prospect, so don’t be concerned.
The year was 2017, and Adley Rutschman was a Freshman at Oregon State University. That season he hit .234 with a .629 OPS, and followed that up with a .164 with a .461 OPS over summer league baseball. You see, failing at the start of something new is normal, and the Baltimore Orioles youngster is no exception to that policy.
Everyone around Birdland was ready for the explosion that was Adley Rutschman, and now that things have started to fizzle out after 50 ABs, some have already turned their backs on the O’s #1 overall prospect. Through 12 games with the O’s Rutschman is hitting just .149/.245/.213 (.458 OPS) with no home runs or RBIs. Is it what was expected? No, but it’s not concerning either.
Given Rutschman’s pedigree, it’s still wild to see him struggling. He hasn’t has an issue at any level for the Baltimore Orioles until now, but like we said before, it’s not a revelation for young stars to fail when they first get to The Show. To quell your feelings, let’s look at a few O’s players who started their careers off on the wrong foot, but became legends by the time it was over.
Baltimore Orioles: Stop being concerned with Adley’s slow start
MLB Debut – 1955
You will be hard-pressed to find a better 3B than Brooks Robinson. The Baltimore Orioles #2 all-time hitter started out in horrific fashion. This rookie debut came in 1955, and as the season closed he had just 22 plate appearances. In that time he hit .091 with two hits and 10 strikeouts. What Brooks did after that was nothing short of impressive; 2,848 career hits and a BA of .267.
MLB Debut – 2006
After a more than stellar Spring Training earning him an MLB debut in 2006, Nick Markakis hit a wall. Through the month of April, he had 74 plate appearances and a .182 BA. The thing that continued to grow hope with Markakis is the same that does with Rutschman. Markakis drew seven walks through his first month, and looked poised at the plate regardless of the average.
MLB Debut – 2006
The best opening stats on this list come here, from Adam Jones. His batting average through 50 at bats was .234. Although his average was decent, he was still missing that power, the same power that the nay-sayers are getting on Adley for. That power finally came through, and by the time it was all over, it came to the tune of 282 homeruns and 945 RBIs.
Cal Ripken Jr.
MLB Debut – 1981
We saved the best for last! If we all hope Adley Rutschman lives up to anyone’s hype, it would be Cal Ripken Jr.’s. A trivia question stumper would be to ask the BA of Cal after his first season in The Show. That answer, would be .200. That was after 40 plate appearances. Can you guess how many HRs and RBIs he had in 1981? Would you believe me if I told you that it was zero for both?
Four examples with countless other reasons why the Baltimore Orioles fanbase needs to take a chill pill. Adley Rutschman is learning and growing and will find his stride. You don’t become this elite at all levels only to fade out of existence. Give him time, and you will see what he will become, and look out because once he does, the whole world will know.